Call for papers: Driven by Hope: Economics and Theology in Dialogue

The Institute for Leadership and Social Ethics (ILSE) and the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation (EHERO) organize the conference:

Driven by Hope: Economics and Theology in Dialogue

Pianta 250Leuven (Belgium) - February 24–25, 2017

Hope is a driving force for transformation, innovation, economic growth and wellbeing. Hope, often articulated as “an endorsed desire for an uncertain future event”, has a clear economic significance as do the unfortunate opposites have such as anxiety and inertness.

Hope contributes to happiness, coping, trusting and perseverance. Hope is a strong emotion (feeling), a way of perceiving reality (cognitive) as well as a virtue (praxis). Hence, hope is more than just an emotion or an optimistic attitude. It is related to reason and prudence in the sense of one’s rational assessment of a difficult situation, possible solutions and the prediction of changes.

Hope is as complex and ambiguous as the human person itself. For many centuries philosophers, theologians and others have reflected on the meaning of hope. More recently hope has drawn attention from the young discipline of positive psychology. Also in economics, attempts are made to define the concept and measure its effects, opening up the way for policy interventions. The study of the effects of hope in our economy challenges the dogmatic distinction between fact and value. It supplements the economic concept of the rational, selfish homo economicus with more social, emotional and ethical aspects of human behaviour. Hope therefore plays a role in behavioral economics, development economics and markets.

Considering its enigmatic nature, the concept of hope requires an interdisciplinary investigation. The academic conference “Driven by Hope” contributes – its aim is to form an initial step to have a better understanding of the field of research as well as an incentive to encourage dialogue, primarily between economics and theology, but also including other disciplines such as philosophy and psychology.

The keynote speakers for this conference are Prof. Dr. Luigino Bruni, Prof. Dr. Patrick Nullens, and Dr. Martijn Burger.


Abstracts should be maximum 500 words, and should fall within the theme of the conference, described above. Each abstract will be assessed blindly by at least two experts. Abstracts can be submitted by email to Dr. Steven van den Heuvel, at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please attach two separate Word documents to your email:
     • Document 1:Your paper proposal, include key bibliographic sources consulted (max. 5). In this document, all identifying references to the author should be removed.
     • Document 2: Your name, first name, email address, institutional address, the title of your abstract, the topic under which your paper proposal falls, as well as a short CV (1 page max.).

Deadline: December 15th, 2016.
You will receive a response on December 31st, 2016 at the latest.


For more information, please refer to the following document.

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